Dyslexia – Back to Plan A

This Monday we were required to give a presentation to our peers and tutors showing what we had done so far on the project. This included our research, inspiration, initial ideas, sketches, and any animation we had completed to date.

We had valid reasons for our ideas as part of the imagery animation, creating the storyboard so that it would suit a dyslexic audience. With the typographic storyboard, we wanted to aim the animation at people who would eventually develop dyslexia or figure out they would have dyslexia. I thought by using the imagery idea it would:

  • Communicate ideas more effectively along with the voice over
  • Images are 80% more effective than words
  • Dyslexics would be watching the animation. After asking people I knew had dyslexia, the said they would prefer to see images
  • The animation would need to attract the attention of students, therefore I thought it would be best to add colour and stick to predominantly using images in the animation
  • We all generated more ideas out of using imagery as the storyboard
  • With using imagery, it would attract our target audience (students and children). Children and students are more vulnerable and often feel they struggle to get help.

However by using words and typography to create awareness for the topic it would effectively notify people of what symptoms they would have if they weren’t able to know whether they had dyslexia. It was a good concept, however I felt the imagery idea was more effective by targeting all audiences no matter what learning disability or age they were. I suppose it was all about a different viewpoint from a certain audience on the topic.

Moving on from imagery, as the tutor told us to do so, we worked hard on experimenting with different effects and filters to apply to typography on AfterEffects in order to animate it. We used the original storyboard plan, modifying it slightly so we could work with experimenting with effects to put on the text and providing enough time to create a non-identical voice over to the text shown in the animation.

The first step we made with reverting back to the typographic idea for the animation was looking at what effects we could use to express the different struggles dyslexics could experience, whether they have dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia. We browsed through different effects we could apply to the text through YouTube and the technical demonstrator in the studio space. We had a brief encounter with using numerous effects on text in a tutorial we had with the demonstrator, using AfterEffects.


As we worked through using different effects on the text, we decided from looking at the screen which effects would suit which pieces of text, and also deciding which ones would look more professional than others. Instead of placing all the text we wanted in one composition of 45-seconds, we decided to split the 45 seconds into 5-seconds for each animated piece of text to be shown. This would keep the animation well-paced and limit us to not using so many effects on the text. We decided to use the typeface Helvetica for the text because of the simplicity, aesthetic and legibility; the effects would be doing all the work.

  1. The first piece of text was ‘Can you read this?’ We decided on this tone because it would grab the viewers’ attention. To animate this we decided to use the effect of wigglepaths because of its unusual nature. To go through to the next piece of text we had the first piece of text collapse in on itself by using the scale tool.
  2. For the second piece of text we were originally looking for a pixelated look, but instead we settled on the effect CC Ball Action after having it expanding from the centre of the screen with the assistance of the wigglepaths effect. Because the text was made up of small balls we wanted them to scatter and fade out to go into the next piece of text.
  3. Next was figuring out what effects would best suit the words shown for dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. For dyslexia we wanted to show the word misspelled at first and then use the typewriter effect to show the mistake being corrected. We referred to SourceText under the Text dropdown box to make the letter disappear and reappear.
  4. For dyscalculia, we kept it simple by replacing the two ‘l’s in the word with ‘1’s. We then used created a path for different sized numbers at different opacities to be flying across the screen.
  5. For dysgraphia, we trialled many numerous animated capabilities. We knew we wanted the text to seem as if it was written onto the screen, and wanted it to be handwritten in the style of a dysgraphic’s writing. I hand wrote a few version holding the pen at different angles and points to allow the text to be illegible and playful. After scanning the writing into the computer we came across some difficulties in trying to put it into AfterEffects, and so we trialled using digital text. After trying to figure out ways in which we could put it on the screen I came up with repeating the text numerous times on the screen at different opacities and sizes. Here is a small video I took on Instagram. One of the group members said it was quite static, which I attempted to improve on. Instead he suggested that we attempt to use the handwritten text as it perfectly expressed what dysgraphia was and it made the effect look unique.
  6. After finishing that text, we wanted to invert the colours with the text from the background to represent the solutions that people with these learning disabilities could look to. To do this we decided to add a solid layer using the burn effect to have it gradually move into a black background. Concerning the tone of the solutions we wanted to represent and our target audience, representing Cardiff Met Student Services was the best idea forward with this. However, this was a campaign to raise awareness for an issue and not a promotional video. Instead we decided to make up the name of a campaign and website called canyoureadthis.org. For this part of the animation we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. We used the typewriter effect with the text shown, and in very last few seconds we had shown our logo design for the campaign.
  7. After completing the visuals we added numerous sound effects to the animation to suit each effect. These included white noise, typing on a keyboard, a breeze, the sound of pen on paper, and lastly a subtle crunching noise to represent the burning.  Finally the voice over was put into the video. We wrote a script, having it differ from the text shown on the screen. Two group members worked together to produce the voice over, testing different tones of voice.

The final 45-second animation. 









Author: jennifertaylorgraphics

First year student studying Graphic Communication at the Cardiff School of Art and Design

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